Re: Accuracy Of The Official Railway Equipment Registers

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford <mallardlodge1000@...>


There certainly were errors, which is understandable given the complexity of the document and that it was issued quarterly (was it monthly in the early days?). The correctness also depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by the railroads themselves. I was surprised at the paucity of information the Pacific Great Eastern provided, as noted in recent discussions here.

Also, some railroads listed their cabooses and other non-revenue cars, though most did not. Handy information if you model that particular railroad. Even in my October 1958 ORER, Clinchfield, Norfolk & Western and some others included lists and car numbers of work equipment. Other lines noted their passenger equipment.

The listing dates for some railroads, particularly shortlines, were often way earlier than an ORER's issue date. If there were no changes to report, then they may not have been required to send in an update, or perhaps just ignored such a bothersome requirement.

Once or twice I considered making an ORER page for my model railroad, not as a hoax, but as sort of a document for my vision of the whole line and all its non-modeled rolling stock. This could be fun.

Nothing wrong with Unverwood 5s. I learned typing on one in high school, and owned a used Underwood 5 all the way through college.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🦆

On Tue, May 4, 2021 at 7:58 PM Bob Chaparro via <> wrote:

Accuracy Of The Official Railway Equipment Registers

How accurate are the ORERs?

I seem to recall someone mentioning that occasionally the ORERs have listings of freight cars lumped together when these cars had different characteristics.

From my experience I am aware of one probably inconsequential error that was repeated for several years.

In August 1918, the United States Railway Administration announced that the SFRD (Despatch) would be under Federal control of the USRA effective January 1, 1919. The USRA then took overall control of SFRD (Despatch) cars.

The Santa Fe immediately reorganized Despatch, which had been a separate company, as the Santa Fe Refrigerator Department, an operating department of the railroad. This allowed Santa Fe a bit more control of the refrigerator cars and operations as allowed under the USRA regulations. SFRD then stood for Santa Fe Refrigerator Department.

As late as 1924 (six years after the “D” in SFRD stood for Department) the Official Railway Equipment Registers still listed SFRD reporting marks as Santa Fe Refrigerator DESPATCH. The Registers had not caught up with the official company change.

Not really a big deal.

But again, in terms of car listings, how accurate are the ORERs?

Can we assume that accuracy increased over time?


Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA

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